Posted by: David D. Daggett | March 23, 2009

Ironman Nutrition

Ironman Nutrition

     What do you eat? That seems to be a question I get asked a lot. Eating is certainly important in athletics, but what we sometimes forget is that what you eat and proper nutrition is just as important in everyday life. Since I gave up sweets for Lent I thought it might be a good time for a nutrition review.

       Exercise is only part of the formula in developing an active, healthy lifestyle. Folks often kid themselves that they can eat more if they exercise. That may be partially true, but remember that no matter what amount of exercise you do, you can never keep up with excessive eating and poor nutrition.

So let’s take a look at the basic components of Ironman Nutrition. The various aspects of nutrition include daily nutrition, post workout nutrition, and race nutrition. In this article we will limit our discussion to daily nutrition.

There are a multitude of books, articles, and businesses that focus on proper nutrition. Many of these programs are either complicated, or have dangerously unhealthy side effects. It seems that many of these programs are more business oriented than actually being nutrition oriented. Furthermore, statistics show that most people that participate in commercial nutrition programs simply fail to maintain their proper weight and properly continue with a healthy lifestyle.

Personally, I believe nutrition is much more simple in concept, although it certainly takes diligence in application. Rather than get overly complicated, I have tried to encourage simplifying nutrition and following three simple principles:

  1. Avoid simple sugar (and ALL sugar substitutes). This sounds easy, but once you start reading labels this means more than just knocking off desserts and candy. There is a lot of simple sugar added to our everyday packaged foods.
  2. Avoid saturated fats. This means avoiding most fatty and greasy food. It does take a little education to understand “good fats” that are unsaturated.
  3. Avoid trans fats. Trans fats generally include all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Again, you have to become very good at reading labels. Many packaged and processed foods have these trans fats hidden in the ingredient listing. Trans fats are unhealthy, are metabolic blockers, and generally come in foods that you want to avoid anyway. But, they are many times hidden very well so be careful!

Following these simple rules may seem easy; however, by default what that leaves you with is lots of lean meat, fish, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. I have always contended that if you follow these rules you can eat as much as you want and will never have to worry about nutrition as a problem.

Good nutrition, or Ironman Nutrition, goes well beyond athletic performance. The benefits include you look better, feel better, and perform better in everyday life. This adds up to a more positive self-image, and positive self-image is one of those magic ingredients for success in life.

Eat smart,



  1. David,

    Great summation of eating healthy. Many are looking for that magic bullet for better athletic performance, weight loss, and/or control of medical problems. You stated in a couple of paragraphs what I have been preaching for decades… Variety, balance and moderation.

    Keep up the good work.


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